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The Center for Resilient Communities: Building unity of thought and action through community-based research and practice

Authors: Emily Tingler*, West Virginia University
Topics: Regional Geography
Keywords: Community Geography, community GIS, action research
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

West Virginia University’s Center for Resilient Communities (CRC) strives to create social change through the empowerment of grassroots leaders, community members, and students. With methodologies rooted in action research, the CRC engages in collective inquiry, human resource development, and collaborative action labs that foster a community of collaborators working towards social transformation. Within these collaborative action labs, researchers and students focus on food justice, community economies, and community GIS initiatives. To effectively engage with community members, CRC collaborators produce creative StoryMaps, educational videos, and participatory workshops which allow for a reciprocation of knowledge between researcher and participant.

I will highlight a StoryMap created with the intention of empowering community members to take action in support of Summer Food Service Programs within the state of West Virginia. This interactive tool can be used by community members, grassroots leaders, or legislative representatives advocating for the expansion of summer feeding sites for West Virginian youth. With data sourced from state institutions and community leaders, the StoryMap gives viewers a holistic understanding of the benefits and need for these programs that serve over one million meals in a summer session.

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